STORY ABOUT THE GALLERY OF STEEL FIGURES
How it all began
The Gallery of Steel Figures (GSF) is unique in the world thanks to life-size sculptures made of recycled scrap. The idea for this project arose in Poland at the “Skup Złomu przy Czołgu” scrap yard (Scrap yard near Tank) in Pruszków, near Warsaw. The creator of the whole project is “Jose” Mariusz Olejnik, originally from Poland, who has been trying to expand his unique project around the world since 2011. It was at the “Skup Złom” scrap yard that his team created the first statue. It was a coffee table made of a V8 engine. The whole idea arose as a reaction to the then crisis in the scrap market, when its price dropped a lot. “Jose” Mariusz Olejnik wondered how he would use a large amount of scrap, when he thought of using part of the recycled scrap for fine art in the form of steel statues. His inspiration was his memories and dreams combined with a passion for the auto-moto world. The Gallery of Steel Figures is a traveling project, the gallery of which you can now visit in Poland and the Czech Republic.
How are sculptures made?
The exhibits are produced by manual welding. No heavy equipment is used to produce them. Only torches, welders, hammers and cutters are used for their production. Even in the case of the “Iron Man,” who had to weld 37,000 nuts from the inside. The technology used to create steel figures has no limitations, so it is possible to create anything we can think of – animals, furniture, sculptures, everyday objects and cars. The first step is to create a cartographic grid in which the statue is depicted. It requires a high temperature with the help of a burner, which is the basic equipment of each of our craftsmen. Sculptures are created based on designs. First, a prototype dummy is made in a ratio of 1:18 and technical documentation, according to which the statue is then created. A challenging step is to create a cartographic grid in which the statue is depicted. It requires working at high temperatures from a torch, which is the most basic equipment of each of our welders.
Who makes the sculptures?
120 artists from all over the world take part in the whole exhibition. These are members of international teams who work in places around the world. This is a demanding job, where artists sacrifice thousands of hours for the creation of steel sculptures. The necessary material, ie recycled scrap, is imported from a scrap yard in Poland.
What are sculptures made of?
The basic pillar of our sculptures are pieces of scrap metal. On the exhibits you can see different sizes of scrap. This is most often scrap from cars and motorcycles. The largest ones include engine parts, gearboxes, brake pads, chains up to the very small parts such as bolts, nuts, gears.
How long does the production of statues take?
Usually the production takes 1-8 months depending on the size of the statue. The most authentic are cars, which are 90% representations of the original body of the car and their production is the most time consuming. This is up to 7,000 hours of work for a team of four people. All exhibits are created according to our own projects.
How big are the statues?
Imaginarily, we can divide the sculptures into three categories according to weight. Small statues the size of a child up to a height of about 140 cm weigh about 50-100 kg. Medium-sized sculptures up to a height of about 230 cm weigh between 300-500 kg. The largest statues, which include models of luxury cars and car shoes with a height of 320 cm, climb up to 1,200 kg, ie 1.2 tons 😊